Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Me and Da Couch

It's been a while since I had "outside help" - I'd say close on 30 years now. Well actually "outside help" is a misnomer for surely it is "inside help". Stuff for the spirit, soul and psyche. If you believe in that kind of thing. Which I do. It's either that or pills and I am surrounded by sedative/tranquilizer and anti-depressant takers. I'd rather take the therapy route. I don't judge the others who opt for the chemical solution. Ever. It's a very personal choice, some like to keep the daemons buried. I wanted to stop feeling so discombobulated and raging after sobering up so had no hesitation about unlocking all the childhood misery so many decades ago.

I just looked up my therapist from close on 30 years ago and found his obituary. He was 93 when he died last year. An amazing man, he brought me from darkness into a place of peace with my past.

The thing is when I seek this kind of help I'm always hesitant and almost apologetic. So much serious crap in the world and here I am sullying your doorstep with my trivial concerns.

Was I set to rights rather quickly with my case review yesterday. Dr. Patrick (pseudonym)looked at me intently and said:

"I have rarely seen anyone in my long practice with so much devastation in 8 months. Actually, come to think of it, never."

And I bawled my eyes out when he said "you've lost 3 anam caras", using the Irish language. Anam cara means, literally: friend of my soul.

And over an hour and a half I poured my heart out and he said to me then:
"The privilege in my job is that I really, really get to know dead people and the families supporting or abandoning the bereaved."

And he proceeded to gently cast a light on behaviours that have hurt and baffled me and the ongoing pain and loss of creativity that have me plagued and the overwhelming tides of grief that take me unaware.

He told me to try and find one small moment in every day that brings me a sliver of joy until he sees me again.

I feel the beginning of hope and renewal today, a little match struck in the darkness.



26 comments:

  1. Happiness can be hard to achieve, and whatever makes it possible is good. To me the secret is connection.

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    1. True dat, Hattie. Connection. Newer ones as the past ones are gone. He talked of new too.

      XO
      WWW

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  2. From the therapist's side of it, I can tell you I never feel like someone is wasting my time with "trivial concerns." My first year as a student therapist 20-somehting years ago, a patient said to me, "Who can measure another's pain." You hurt when you hurt and grief matters.

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    1. Good to hear from a professional on it SAW. Yes no one can measure another's pain, I know I never do. There is no timeline on grief. And so little understanding of the process.

      XO
      WWW

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  3. There are no trivial concerns and as one who has lost five people in less than three years, I empathize. For me, establishing new connections has been hard. I haven't managed that very well and I've realized how emotionally limited some of those with whom I've had friendships can be and had to let them go. I'm pondering a fresh start but do not know where to begin. My therapist has been a big help and yours has gotten you off on the right track, it seems. I did something called Writing Your Grief online which at a future point might be something to consider. Hugs to you in the meantime.

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    1. Thanks E. My counsellor was quick to ascertain what brought me the most joy and reinforced my feelings about community here - or as he said my "new family" but like yourself, the emotional history is absent unfortunately. I don't like to lean on Daughter too much as I am mindful of her wellbeing. And other family is farflung and disinterested (being polite when I could say a lot more, my counsellor had much to say on that particular topic)
      Thank you for the hugs and I will check out that online grief programme, thank you. So very sorry for all your losses my dear. Overwhelming too.
      XO
      WWW

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  4. Dr. Patrick sounds like a good one; I hope you develop a strong, helpful relationship. From my admittedly limited experience, I agree with e -- writing about your inner life can not only help you shed a lot of burdens but also bring out your stronger self.

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    1. I've always journalled Tom but it was not shedding any light at all in this particular year of horror. it was fits and starts and writing my dreams but absolutely no enlightenment. He is definitely a good one and spots dysfunction a mile away.

      I am more in touch with my grief today and that is a good thing :)

      XO
      WWW

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  5. Very interesting; thanks for sharing some of these details. It's helpful to be a kind of fly-on-the-wall at your session "on the couch." One always learns something that applies to one's own life at some point.

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    1. That is so true SJG, I always relate to others when they share their trials and tribulation and life challenges.

      None of us get rose gardens.

      XO
      WWW

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  6. I'm glad you found Dr. Patrick. I hope your moments of joy start to multiply in a big way. :)

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    1. Me too Jennifer, one a day would be nice. And I look for those and find them.

      Today I had lunch with Daughter and after we wandered into a hardware store and had a good time.

      XO
      WWW

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  7. Sounds like Dr Patrick is being very helpful and giving you some useful insights. I hope the therapy gives you some relief from the crushing grief.

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    1. I am very positive it will Nick, he is completely empathetic and validating and gentle.

      XO
      WWW

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  8. It is rare to find a therapist with such empathy.

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    1. Hen's teeth, Ramana. I remember in Toronto going through so many before finding The One.

      I was lucky in finding Dr. P. so soon.

      XO
      WWW

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  9. Side thing, SAW knows of what she says....
    I've not been in therapy of that kind, but have known people who have and says it works. Good enough for me.
    Cheers, and all the best.
    Mike

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    1. SFM - the listening non-judgemental ear is amazing and the validation of feelings that can be so easily dismissed in the language of insensitivity (get over it, why is it taking so long, other people have losses too, count your blessings, etc. ad nauseum) which can further darken the outlook. Clichés are so unhelpful in times like these.

      XO
      WWW

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  10. I'm glad that you found your Dr. P. so quickly and trusted him enough to break into tears in his office. Of course, an immediate rapport isn't always necessary, I found. I remember my first visit with my only therapist. I was so affronted by something she said to me during that first visit! If I hadn't been such a rule follower, I would never have gone back for a second visit! I'm glad I did, though, and I'm glad that your Dr. P. validated for you the trauma you've experienced this last year.

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    1. Thanks Linda, I truly feel lucky as I couldn't tell you the number of therapists I went through before finding The One in Toronto.

      This was an immediate "click" even thought I was prepared to keep "shopping".

      I'm so glad it also worked out for you!

      XO
      WWW.

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  11. Dear, WWW,
    I am happy for you that you have what sounds to be a very competent and compassionate therapist. Relief from the helplessness of grief, comes from the sort of sharing you will do with such a professional. It has happened for me many times in my life. I have also learned in very painful ways that the only way through grief/loss is straight through it.
    I hope each day will bring ease in finding those things in the present that bring you serenity, and smiles.
    Hugs and caring from Cape Cod tonight!

    Marcia

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    1. Thank you Marcia. Yes I learned a long time ago we can't circumvent feelings we have to walk through them or medicate ourselves with substances and not feel at all. I'd rather feel so hope to keep climbing this rickety ladder out of the pit of despair :)

      XO
      WWW

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  12. Dr. P sounds a bit of a gem and I am so happy for you, speaking as one who has known both sides of the fence. Wise words, his sliver of joy comment. I hope you will experience many such moments. xxxx

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    1. Thanks Pamela, I'm finding those slivers and trying to do the things that bring me joy: knit, set up a keyboard kindly given to me by a friend and maybe play again, tiny little footsteps but quite enormous to me :)

      XO
      WWW

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  13. Two steps forward and one step back is still progress. I admire your willingness to get things to a different place. You know it will take work and you are not deterred. Good help is hard to find. When the universe comes through, know that you are loved. I think of you often ~

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  14. It has all been said, sending hugs, strength and courage for today and every day. <3

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